THE recent meeting between representatives of the top brass of the police and the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, raises a number of questions why extraordinary measures are not being put in place to protect the children of Malawi.

The meeting came in the wake of data that confirms a disturbing rise in sexual attacks on children, or defilements, as they are known in legal terms.

The statistics, however, do not explain why adults, the people who are supposed to protect the children, are instead actual monsters who are preying on them.

The statistics also do not explain why there is a rise of such attacks on children in all the districts of the country.

One of the reasons, we think, is that there is not enough public awareness, discussion and indeed, not enough revulsion and disgust over what is happening to the future generations of our country.

Secondly, the sentences that are meted out to adults who prey on children are almost laughable. They are on par with sentences that are handed down to people who steal chickens and goats.

For example, a recent story in one of our newspapers says a court in Lilongwe sentenced a church elder to eight years in prison after he raped a six-year-old child.

This monster dressed up in the garb of a holy man should have been sentenced instead, to not less than 20 years, in our opinion.

Stiff and drastic sentences would be effective deterrents to such monsters.  As it is, he might even be soon out with a much reduced sentence for so-called good behavior while in prison.

Why, if we may ask, are such monsters and predators treated with kid gloves? Why are our legislatures whom we elected to help us define a better future for this country, not taking up this issue and introducing tougher laws to protect our children?

Why are the monsters that prey on our children not kept on a register of sex predators, as is done in other countries?

This is surely something that the representatives of UNICEF in Malawi as well as the police, need to take up as a matter of urgency.

They could do this by communicating much more effectively by engaging the public through the platforms of the news media.



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